News / USA

    US Women's Field Hockey Team Aims for London Podium

    Parke Brewer
    The United States has won only one medal in women’s Olympic field hockey, and that was a bronze when the nation hosted the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.  But this year’s team has high expectations that it will reach the podium at the London Olympics.  
     
    After receiving an automatic berth as host of women’s Olympic field hockey at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, the United States failed to qualify for the event at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.  So it hired a new coach in 2005, Lee Bodimeade,  who won a silver medal playing men’s field hockey for Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

    He says his philosophy of the game, and the fact that the culture of Australian and American sports are similar, helped him get the job.

    “It’s an aggressive mentality to go and get the ball," said Bodimeade. "And my real belief is empowering the athletes and having them be the driver to success which is ultimately what determines it.  And I wanted to give them the freedom to be able to play and make decisions on the run and, as I said, empower them to have the knowledge and ability to do so.”

    Bodimeade guided the American women to a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  They were rated 11th in the 12-team field and finished 8th.  Seven of the Beijing players are on Bodimeade’s team for the London Games.
     
    “What’s transpired since then is we have an addition of young, fast, skillful athletes that are elevating the performance, and so that’s what we’ve got," he said. "We’ve got the base level of senior players that have a very, very good fundamental base of skill, and now we have the real sharp elevated skill level from the newer players in the group.”

    The U.S. women upset then-world number-one Argentina at last year’s Pan American Games in Mexico to earn an automatic Olympic berth  And in a recent series of pre-Olympic warm-up matches against the world champions in Virginia, the Americans and Argentines each won once and played to two draws.
     
    Bodimeade says it is important for his players to test themselves against the best.

    “Everything is about being able to execute the basic skills under extreme pressure and at speed," he said. "And the more you’re exposed to that, the more you’re able to adapt and be able produce at that level.  And we’ve really worked hard on our basic skill level and being able to do that under pressure, and that has driven our elevation of performance.”

    The captain of the U.S. women’s field hockey team is 27-year-old central defender Lauren Crandall.

    Bodimeade calls her an exceptional, disciplined hockey player who drives the team.

    “She has to be all things.  She has to be smart," he said. "She has to be able to read the play exceptionally well, her ability to distribute [the ball] and to set our attacking plays.  She’s the key to it, and that’s what she does very well.”

    Crandall grew up playing soccer, but switched to field hockey in high school.  She says she never had thoughts of competing in an Olympics.  She just loved the competition and worked hard at the sport without knowing where it might lead her.

    Now, with recent successes, she and her teammates believe they can win an Olympic medal in London.

    “You know we’re ranked 10th in the world right now, but we feel like if we follow the process like we have been and taking the steps that we need to, we’ll put ourselves in position to be standing on the podium at the end of the London Games," said Crandall.

    To do it, the United States will need to get through round-robin matches in a difficult Pool B that includes Argentina, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa.

    Coach Bodimeade says his team is ready for the challenge.

    “Nobody goes to the Olympics for experience in my book," he said. "You are going there to win.  And that’s the belief that I have.  We’re going in there to put in these performances that will give us the result that we want.”

    And that is to capture the first Olympic medal for U.S. women’s field hockey since 1984.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora